Evelyn Butcher | 12 September 2019

We know that the quantity of clothing we purchase and throw away is having a detrimental impact on our environment. But we continue to purchase fast fashion (yes it is cheaper and also often more ‘trendy’ and with fashion trend cycle moving at a dizzyingly fast pace it can be difficult to keep up. 

Ah, but do not fret our friend. We have the insider information.  As it turns out, it’s actually more affordable and increases your perceived fashion prowess to purchase classic fashion items (we were shocked as well)!

Plus, with the current state of the world (pause for dramatic effect) It is now more important than ever for fashion-lovers to make conscious decisions when purchasing clothing. Yes, you may save money purchasing a cheap item of clothing (in the short term), but your fellow humans are paying the price!. 

We’ve put together a simple guide to becoming a sustainable shopper while ensuring you look like you’ve stepped off the catwalk everyday with your own unique style - Didn’t you hear? Sustainable is the new black. 

Without further adieu… here are our top 3 tips for you: 

Back to Basics

Basic, high-quality items are what you should be spending your hard-earned cash on. 

So, do as the Parisians do and invest on sophisticated, simple pieces that are produced by sustainable designers. Avoid spending big on colourful, printed items: when the fashion trend cycle inevitably rolls around, these items will be the first to go out of fashion. Basic pieces are not subjected to the fashion trend cycle and will become the backbone of your wardrobe. 

By purchasing high-quality fabrics, crafted sustainably and with care, you will find that these pieces will last you for years. Put it this way; you could buy a $4 black t-shirt from Kmart that will fade and tear, or you could spend $59 on a Citizen Wolf tee (sneaky self promotion sorry not sorry), crafted for your specific body shape, that will stand the test of time. 

Although coughing up that much cash might seem like a blow to the budget, over time you will find yourself saving money as garments made with craftsmanship and top quality materials will far outlast any fast fashion items. 

Colour Me Vintage

Purchase second-hand and vintage items to add colour and texture to your wardrobe. These items can be found at bargain prices and are a great way to amp up your personal style. 

Purchase items such as colourful dresses, costume jewellery, printed tops, funky skirts, and eclectic belts. With your basics making up the backbone of your wardrobe vintage pieces are a great way to experiment with trends at an affordable cost. This is also an opportunity for you to discover your own unique look, and step away from the motion sickness of the fashion trend cycle.

To begin colouring in your wardrobe start with the following places:

  1. Charity & church opportunity shops

Op shops such as St. Vincent De Paul, The Red Cross, and Lifeline are a great place to look for cheap, second-hand pieces. Beware: you will need to spend time rummaging through a lot of undesirable clothes in order to find those pieces that make your heart sing (but we promise when you find them you will absolutely fall in love). Tip: visit op shops in affluent suburbs to find fur coats and second-hand designer pieces. 

  1.         Vintage boutiques

Take a look in your local vintage boutiques for handpicked, old-school goodies. These shops are likely to be a little pricier than op shops, but they will save you sorting through the mess of unappealing hand-me-downs. In these stores, you will discover striking fashion from past decades.

  1.         Etsy.com

Etsy.com is an online vintage and handmade marketplace. Here, you can source fashion pieces from all over the world. Once you create an account you can search for specific styles, keep a wish list of your desired pieces, and follow your favourite online Etsy stores. 

One Woman’s Trash

Of course, you are not going to want to hold onto every item in your wardrobe forever, but what is no longer of value to you could bring happiness to one of your fellow fashion lovers. There are sustainable practices that you should abide by when it’s time to clean out your closet.

  1. Swap with friends

This should always be your first option. Swapping unwanted pieces with your friends will help you all save a dollar. Who doesn’t want to play dress ups while sipping a glass of wine or three?

  1. Sell online

Create your own online Etsy store, or post your clothes on a clothes swap Facebook group.

  1. Donate to your local charity op shop

Find your local charity donation bin and deposit your unwanted clothes.

  1. Store away

Keep your clothes in a safe place: you never know when you might want to reintroduce them into your closet again.

  1. Repurpose

If you’re no longer digging the cut or shape of a piece of clothing, try shortening the hemline or turning a dress into a top. 

We hope this helps motivate you to think longer term about your fashion choices. 

The planet can no longer continue to sustain the level of production demanded of fast fashion consumers. By adopting sustainable consumerism you are taking strain off our environment. 

So, next time you shop, think through your purchases and avoid contributing to frivolous consumer culture. Shopping sustainably will allow you to develop your own unique style; become an ethically and environmentally conscious consumer & and save hard earned $$ (which can then be reinvested in buying more sustainable garments). 

You’re welcome.

About the author

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Evelyn is a Brisbane-based creative writer. She's addicted to iced long blacks and cares more about her house plants than people. The most common thing she hears is ""Ev, that is way too much butter". 

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